When it comes to renovating a home, visions of marble countertops and hardwood floors can make even the most frugal homeowner forget about their budget. With only so much money to spend, it’s important to strategize by focusing on what truly matters and finding ways to cut costs.
Here are 10 ways to do just that.
1. Consider Wants vs. Needs
Before beginning any home renovation project, it’s important to differentiate between your needs and wants. Otherwise, you could very easily blow your budget on elements that match your aesthetic rather than on practical upgrades.
Spend some time studying your family’s habits and how you operate when you walk in the door. Your observations may better reveal your needs so you spend money on renovations that improve your life on a day-to-day basis.
2. Overestimate Costs
Nearly half of homeowners go over their budget when completing renovations. Meanwhile, only 20% actually come in under budget. Join the minority here by overestimating costs and set aside at least 20% more than you think projects will cost.
Work with your contractor or architect to set a contingency line and better understand itemized costs and fees.
3. Declutter Your Property
Sometimes, all a home needs is a bit of decluttering to make it look brand new. In fact, you may find that simply tossing that giant rusty toaster oven and clearing your kitchen counters gives you more prep space. You don’t have to install an island, after all.
Declutter your closets, side tables and other areas that tend to fall into disarray. Then, revise your renovation list.
4. Plan Early
As long as you begin studying your habits and routines early enough, you’ll be able to find affordable solutions to your renovation needs. Planning early will also help you save money by doing more all at once.
For example, it may be more cost-effective to re-floor the living room, hallway and entryway at the same time instead of splitting each room into a separate project. This is also helpful if you’re planning to sell a property on a schedule.
5. Add Curb Appeal
Don’t forget about the outside of your property when creating your home improvement budget. There are many ways to boost curb appeal, including different landscape designs, trellises and container gardens. You can even add some flair with a rain garden, fence or front yard walkway.
6. Remember That DIY Is Your Friend
When it comes to sticking to your budget, do-it-yourself renovations are your best friend. You may not want to take on an entire kitchen remodel, but you could easily install the backsplash or brighten up the walls with a fresh coat of paint.
Do a bit of research and take on as many projects as you can to save money and put your own personal touch on things.
7. Use Reclaimed Materials
Reclaimed materials can also help you stick to your budget. Look for architectural salvage companies, Salvation Army donation centers and vintage shops in your area for wood, metal, glass and other materials.
You might even ask your contractor if they’re working on any other projects that might have leftover materials they would otherwise discard.
8. Perform Property Maintenance
Budgeting for home renovations can be tricky, especially if multiple projects require your attention at once. Thus, it’s crucial you maintain your property and make updates along the way.
Performing routine maintenance tasks will prevent damage and subsequent costly repairs. Plus, you won’t have to drop thousands of dollars all at once.
9. Ask for Recommendations
Obviously, you don’t want to choose the most expensive contractor or architect to get the job done. However, you don’t want to hire the cheapest one, either.
Ask friends and family for recommendations and read customer reviews from actual clients. Doing so will likely get you the best bang for your buck.
- 10. Give Thought to Renovation Loans
If you simply cannot wait to make renovations or can’t afford them on your own, consider applying for a renovation loan. The Federal Housing Administration 203(k) loan is a good option because the amount will be based on the future value of your home after making renovations.
In It for the Long Haul
When you signed the papers and officially became a homeowner, you officially decided you were in it for the long haul. Odds are you’ve been in your home for a few years and will be there for a few more.
Therefore, it’s wise to set aside a small sum of money each month to budget for future renovations. Doing so will ensure you always have some extra cash to maintain your home and, eventually, prepare it for future owners.